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Watch: Video released in Brecksville bridge bomb plot sting

12:55 PM, Jun 22, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Channel 3 News was the first to obatin surveillance video showing the attempt to blow up the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge last spring.

This is the first time the public has seen the so-called Cleveland 5 in the act, a simple plan that could have had deadly consequences April 30, 2012.

Five men, who met in Cleveland's Occupy Movement, took steps to blow up the bridge over Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The video, a series of photos taken each second, was recorded during a sting operation that led to the arrest of five men who had plotted to bring down the bridge. 

On a dark and rainy spring night, at least three of the suspects can be seen placing what they believed to be C-4 explosives on pillars below the bridge.

The men were arrested when they attempted to detonate the devices which were always inert and had been sold to the men by undercover FBI agents.

A jury convicted the last of the five suspects, Joshua Stafford, last week in federal court. Stafford represented himself in court.

The other four involved in the plot: Douglas Wright, Brandon Baxter, Connor Stevens and Anthony Hayne pleaded guilty to charges.

Prosecutors say the original plan moved from "..blowing up bank signs in downtown blowing up the Brecksville Northfield bridge on Route 82." 

The FBI kept a close eye on the co-conspirators with hours of video and audio surveillance and the help of a confidential informant.

This video was recorded only a few hours before the men were arrested, when they attempted to denote the devices by cellphone from a nearby Applebee's.

Why Applebee's? Prosecutors say that the Applebee's on nearby state Route 21 had video surveillance so they could establish their alibis when they texted the #2332 on the cell phone to detonate the bombs.

There the men knew they'd be caught on surveillance camera, which they thought be give them an alibi. Instead, they were caught red handed.

Only Joshua Stafford remains to be sentenced. Stafford was found guilty on all three counts against him in Akron Federal Court earlier this month.

He'll be sentenced September 11th. 

The other four defendants have landed prison terms of six to 11 years, considered terrorists for their actions.


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